The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

‘War on women’ term is misleading

Since the Republican primary for the presidential nomination began, women have been on the radar.

Issues of birth control and abortion have been highlighted in the race in a way that has left many liberals and feminists proclaiming the ‘war on women’ has been revamped.

And after Gov. Scott Walker passed legislation banning health care plans from covering abortion, for example, it’s a phrase heard even more often in Wisconsin.

But the label of ‘war on women’ does nothing but set back the fight against conservative legislation that takes away the rights women have or ought to have when it comes to issues such as birth control and abortion.

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Calling it the ‘war on women’ makes it sound like these issues  only affect women and should only be important to women. All it does is alienate men and those who don’t consider themselves feminists from supporting the cause.

In most sexual activities, especially those that lead to pregnancy, there are two people involved. For heterosexual partners, an unplanned pregnancy would affect both of them — not just the woman.

Whether he would be involved with raising the child or paying child support checks, the men who are involved in these situations are also affected by an accidental pregnancy. While their bodies don’t face changes, their lives certainly do.

And when it comes to the issue of affordable and available contraception, let’s not forget  unexpected pregnancy isn’t the only possible problem to arise.

Sexually transmitted infections are another very important factor to consider, especially as it’s something that affects both men and women in a more obviously similar way.

Calling the issue a ‘war on women’ leaves men out, and that’s not ok.

Men make up about half of the U.S. population. While there are plenty of men who are concerned about these issues already, there are some who aren’t because they don’t see it as important to them.

Also, in this overarching picture of women’s rights — of all people, regardless of gender — having equal opportunity and equal rights, this label further establishes a divide between men and women

Another aspect of the labeled ‘war on women’ is not all women view themselves as feminists.

Feminists and supporters of feminism: As much as I know you hate it, there are plenty of women who have a very stereotype-based view of what feminism is and feel like it has nothing to do with them.

Talking about this issue as only harming women’s rights, as only being a war on women can turn some of these women off. They’ll look at it as a ‘feminists’ issue and something that doesn’t concern them.

Those who want to protect contraceptive and abortion rights should follow an example from Rick Santorum’s GOP primary campaign. Yes, you read that correctly.

Rick Santorum gained a large number of supporters throughout his campaign, including women.

One of the reasons Santorum gained female supporters was because he spoke about the issues of birth control and abortion as harming family values.

He treated these issues not as belonging to women, but belonging to all, as he claimed the traditional family was the backbone to American society and abortion and contraception harmed the traditional family.

If the traditional family went down, we all went down. And thus, Santorum portrayed the issues as affecting all of us.

If you focus the issue on families as well as on women’s rights, it opens up the issue to more people. People who would otherwise ignore issues involving women’s rights, including issues of equal pay as many families today rely on paychecks from both men and women.

Attaching the somewhat dramatic phrase ‘war on women’ is bound to turn some people off. Right now, those who want to protect women’s rights need to show how they are
important to all.

So call it a war on sexual health. Call it an unprecedented control on families, but stop calling it a war on women.

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‘War on women’ term is misleading